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Robert Mathiesen

Professor Emeritus:
Slavic Languages

My academic interests have changed several times during the many years I have been at Brown. My degrees were in Slavic linguistics and philology. I was hired by Brown to teach these subjects to graduate students. Over time I narrowed my Slavic interests to Medieval Slavic alone, and extended my Medieval interests to the Western Middle Ages as well as the Slavic and Byzantine ones. In the 1990s I moved into a newly formed academic field, the history of esotericism, occultism and magic.


I came to Brown in 1967, having been hired to teach graduate courses in Slavic linguistics. In the 1980s I switched my teaching and research to Medieval Studies, and I offered courses on methods of work with Medieval manuscripts and the earliest printed books. In the 1990s a number of scholars at various universities created a new academic field about the history of magic, occultism and esoteric movements. Before my retirement I offered three courses in that field: Magic in the Middle Ages; Women, Magic and Power, 1800-1960; and Esoteric Russia. I was a founding member of the first North American professional society for that academic field, the Societas Magica. I retired in the summer of 2005.


Old Church Slavonic and Slavic Linguistics; Medieval Studies; Esotericism, Occultism and Magic.


BA 1964 (UC Berkeley), Phd 1974 (Columbia)

Curriculum Vitae